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Sep 24, 2009 09:11 AM

Restaurant Shake Up in Halifax

Changes on the restaurant scene here in town. Chef Ray Bear has left his namesake eatery and now Seven Wine bar is closing. Is this the decline of "fine dinning" as we know it? While Bish, Chives, daMaurizio and Gio still exist as "fine dinning", Fid has redefined itself as a more casual resto. Are more closures to follow. I know purse strings are tight, but is this just the beginning of restaurant closures?

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  1. That is really too bad about Chef Bear. Halifax has lost a great chef!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Aislyn

      Where has Chef Bear gone?

      He was out here [Edmonton] not too long ago as part of a lobster promotion and there was an article on him that mentioned the Hlfx restaurant.

      1. re: Bob Mac

        And we lost Sebastian's too, which had delicious French food. I'm not getting too worried yet though... does anyone know who the new chef at twelvefortyone (formerly Bear) is? If he trained under Ray Bear, I suspect it will still be good.

        We still have Gio, Jane's (for brunch and more casual dining), Chives, Morris East, and while Fid has redefined itself the food is still unparalleled, IMO. It's probably the best overall value now in the city. Two other (unlikely) restaurants that offer very good food (same head chef) are the dining rooms at the two Halifax Delta's. Far better than most hotels, especially the dreadful Westin which just can't seem to get it together food wise, no matter how hard they try.

        Cut Steakhouse and Grill and Onyx are pretty good too, if a tad on the pricey side.

        1. re: traccan555

          We've also recently lost Merchant's Seafood and Chop House (which was actually pretty good) and well as "gastropub" Minstrel's.
          I agree with your assessment of Fid, best food in town and now best value as well.
          There are still plenty of excellent dinning choices in Halifax.
          I do not believe the new chef at twelvefortyone has worked for Ray Bear, though I could be wrong.

          1. re: boynamedsous

            Safe to assume "twelvefortyone" is dead and buried? It's been closed since December. A Starbuck's in that space would be nice ( . . . kidding).

            1. re: HFXNS

              1241 is gone gone gone.

              New spots in town or places that have moved up a notch, include Brooklyn Warehouse, Nectar, Elements (in the Westin was horrid now so much better), Pipa, Boneheads Barbecue, Morris East (was always good, seems to be missing on Chowhound), Trinity (have not been), Estia, Cafe Brussels, and I am sure I am missing a couple.

              As some places go, so do new ones come to take their place. Next up will be "Q" a new BBQ place in the former Merchants/Piccolo Mundo space, fun by RCR (Onyx/Cut/Waterfront Warehouse etc.)

              It is 2010. Time marches on.

              1. re: Brewnoser

                The Bonehards' menu looks promising. Anybody able to report how they actually execute?

                1. re: butland

                  Boneheads is fantastic. A fantastic addition to the Halifax scene. I prefer it to Q.

                2. re: Brewnoser

                  RE: Brussels; wouldn't go back... Beer was good, atmosphere; very nice. Service..? Food..? I asked for an additional oyster and my server brought it out in his fingers... ewww. No thanks, I'd rather not put my lips to that, now.

                3. re: HFXNS

                  Apparently Bish will be closed after the New Year for a short time, and will be reborn as a more casual bistro style place. This has me excited, because their prices had continually shot up over the past 2 years, yet the food is generally very good.

                  Ray Bear now has a new casual restaurant called Mix Fresh Kitchen that I've already visited a couple of times, with solid, if slightly inconsistent dishes, but very reasonably priced. I expect it will only get better as they iron out the kinks.

        2. Has Trinity closed its doors?

          1. I'm sorry to see Anatolia has closed. I liked that restaurant, although I think it was at its best in its first couple of years.

            1 Reply
            1. re: starlings

              You're right. I think it was in year three we waited 1.5 hours for our order and then an additional 20 minutes to have the forgotten cutlery delivered to the table. It probably lasted longer than it should have. Lucky for Hfx. there are other good mid-eastern restaurants now like Cafe Istanbul, Turkish Delight and Kabaji.

            2. Press Gang should definitely make the list as well. Best crabcakes in town and great atmosphere.

              The Press Gang
              5218 Prince Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3X4, CA

              1. You mean to imply that King of Donair is not a fine dining establishment? Well, the folks over on Quinpool will be gobsmacked!
                Go on! Ever gorgeous!

                4 Replies
                1. re: kencod1

                  I was absolutely stunned to see King of Donair in Enroute magazine 2 days ago on an Air Canada flight. I confess to trying their donairs a few years back and they were quite forgettable. Is there a decent donair in Halifax? Once upon a time donairs about town even had a sprinkling of parsley The donairs in Berlin despite all the hype were nothing memorable, in fact rather dry.

                  1. re: chilibeanpaste

                    The words 'decent' and 'donair' don't fit together in my vocabulary, but if you want something similar and tasty, homemade and not greasy, get the chicken schwarma from Tarek's Cafe on Robie, near the intersection with Young St. in the north end.

                    1. re: traccan555

                      "The words 'decent' and 'donair'" ...good point. When I have the rare one I long to take it home and doctor it up with mint leaves and basil, roasted garlic and red peppers etc. Someone recently mentioned their friend makes his own donair meat out of pressed fresh lamb; that sounds rather tantalizing compared to that curious blob the locals use.

                      Will try Tarek's schwarma soon. Thanks for the tip.

                      1. re: traccan555

                        We ordered two beef schwarma pitas last Saurday night. First bite and realized they gave us chicken instead, somebody messed up as our beef was defintely on the grill. I hope the pair that picked up a take out at the same time weren't expecting chicken.

                        We thought the schwarmas rather tasteless, certainly needed some spicing up. Tarek's surely could up the ante with a bit parsley or mint or harissa without breaking the bank. Everything is fresh though.